Incoming ACA chairperson sets out priorities

Incoming ACA chairperson sets out priorities
Steven Taylor, incoming chair of the Association of Consulting Actuaries

The Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) has appointed Steven Taylor as its new chairperson.

Taylor, who is a partner and corporate pensions advisor at Lane Clark and Peacock, will take on the role from June 1, succeeding Patrick Bloomfield. 

He said: “I believe actuaries are equipped to make a huge difference to some of the biggest challenges we face as a society: helping the next generation build up adequate savings for their retirement, responsibly stewarding defined benefit schemes through a new economic and regulatory landscape and understanding the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on life expectancies.  

“I’m looking forward to working closely with our industry to contribute the views of actuaries to emerging UK policy.”

Taylor said during his two-years as chairperson, he will work on the ACA’s goal to deliver an “intergenerationally coherent savings environment” and balance responsible stewardship of defined benefit schemes.

This will be through promoting joined up policies that will help future generations save adequately for their retirements.

To achieve this goal, Taylor explained four components that were “vital” to achieving this: adequate savings, stewardship of DB schemes, tackling climate risk and products and innovation.

Research by ACA found that younger employees in today’s predominantly defined contribution schemes are not saving enough for their retirement.  

Other savings needs, such as saving for a home, intensified by the increased resiliency needs from the pandemic and now a cost-of-living crisis, may crowd out voluntary pension provision, he explained.

“Squaring this circle requires incremental increases to auto enrolment contributions, which we have endorsed for many years now, but also increased flexibility to allow saving to be used when and where they are needed,” he said.

“Finding ways to help encourage today’s savers to put enough aside for their own retirements, despite a hugely difficult economic backdrop, is perhaps the biggest challenge we face as an industry.”

Taylor explained that the UK’s 5,000 DB schemes have generally emerged strongly from the pandemic.  

“However, as we hope to soon see long awaited new funding regulations and guidance, securing a smooth transition of DB schemes to their endgames has never been more important,” he added.

“We look forward to working closely with TPR to help ensure that a new funding code is put in place that delivers for all stakeholders – providing strong reassurance to members and trustees, but also clarity to sponsors on the cost of their pensions promises.”

The ACA also said the past few years have seen a step change in the approach of the pensions and investment community to addressing climate challenges and risk. 

Within products and innovation, the ACA said these challenges will require actuaries to lead the way in the development of products and services needed by savers. 

This could range all the way from facilitating pension dashboards, to the emergence of innovative new collective DC schemes that can help generate an income from DC savings.